As the St Louis Rams try to come to an agreement with the city on funding for upgrades to the aging Edward Jones Dome, reports have now surfaced that the team is for sale. Among other things, this topic was touched upon by Chief Operating Officer (COO) Kevin Demoff in a chat on a Rams team website.
On the idea of the club being for sale, Demoff replied: “Sometimes reports are so baseless they don’t even merit a response. Stan Kroenke is as excited about this year’s team and the Club’s future as he has been at any point during his ownership tenure.” Demoff continued on Kroenke and his thoughts about the city saying: “I know people want to paint a doomsday scenario, but Stan has been emphatic on this point: He didn’t lead the charge to bring the Rams back to St. Louis to lead the charge out of St. Louis.”
Stadium issues are a big topic for the Rams’ franchise these days, but Demoff is quick to point out that other clubs have even more dire situations on their hands. According to the Rams’ COO: “I’m amazed that we are years removed from even having a lease that goes year to year yet there is more angst in St. Louis than there is currently in San Diego or Oakland where the lease issues are more pressing. There is more angst in St. Louis than there was in Minnesota and the Vikings lease was year to year.”
The facts are there, but with a poor on-field product and half empty stadium for the latter half of the 2011 season, the Rams have a problem on their hands. Demoff was quick to point out that things are moving in the right direction as far as the players and coaches are concerned. He said: “…In the past six months, we have hired Jeff Fisher, the third winningest active coach in the NFL. We hired Les Snead, a bright young NFL mind. It is the first time since the Club moved here that we hired a new coach and GM in the same year. In the first three days of free agency we spent over $100m on players. We pulled off one of the biggest draft trades in NFL history to set ourselves up for the future, getting 10 draft picks this year (5 in top 65) and two extra first round picks in 2013 and 2014. We turned over our entire roster with nearly 50% of our players being new.”
Those comments more than any other hint at the fact that the Rams’ record this year may have more to do with their long-term future in St. Louis than anything else. The arbitration process will go on as scheduled and the team will play its games in the Edward Jones Dome this year as planned, but the more wins they put up during the 2012 campaign, the more likely there are to see public funding for the stadium renovations.